Thursday, December 27, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 71

 Thelma Lorine, ca 1906


Today’s postcard is one of those that have a family photo but unlike many cards of this nature the photo takes up only about one third of the space the remaining area is left for the message.  During this time period messages were required to be written on the "picture" side of the card and the card demonstrates a clever way to allow an area for the written message without marking the photograph.  

It must have been hand delivered to the Lees, as it does not have a stamp or a postmark.  Notice the way the address is written, the city under their names and the street underneath on the left bottom side.  Today the name would be first, the street address under that and the city, state, and zip code the bottom line.  One card to I.C. Lee sent prior to 1904 was simply addressed to him as a police officer with the city and state but no street address at all and he still got it.  Undivided back postcards were printed in the United States from 1901 to 1907.  Since the Lees were married in 1904 it is possible to date this card between 1904 and 1907.  

The mystery is how the Lees were connected to Thelma Lorine Erickson.  As far as I can tell during this time period there were no family members married to an Erickson, so it is probable that Thelma was the daughter of friends.  As mentioned several times previously the Lees had many friends and entertained frequently. 

Cards like this one that have photographs of family members or friends are ways we can get a window into the past to see what life must have been like about 100 years ago. Little Thelma Lorine appears to be wearing a lamb’s wool coat and is quite bundled up.  In addition to a rather large scarf around her neck she is even wearing little gloves or mittens.  The clothing styles, the subject matter, the poses, all help us understand that period of time better and I, for one, find them fascinating.  If there are messages on cards such as in this case they often can be interesting or funny as they sometimes show differences in spellings and current language usage (slang).  

Many of our ancestors were immigrants and their friends were also immigrants not always from the same countries. Klara Landaas Hillevang [Hillwang] was known to have described her neighbors as "Swedes paa siden" or "Swedes on the side" referring to the next house down from them.  This was not meant as a derogatory statement but just a way to identify the neighbors.  Everybody was new enough so that they were not yet thinking of themselves as Americans and still referred to their home countries or origins.  The neighborhood wasn't all Scandinavians, although in Ballard they were mostly Scandinavians, there would have been immigrants from other countries too.  Generally the way English was used, not just on this particular card, shows some of that morphing from a native language to English particularly when it concerns plurals and sentence structure both often different in other languages. 

The message reads:  “Ma and Pa wants you to have a Merry Xmas and wishes you a Happy New Year and many of them (not little ones like me).  We are all well here but must stay "to hum" Xmas cause they have had Whoopin’ coughs at my chums house and I don’t want that!”

"I greet you for all 3 of "We’ums"
Thelma Lorine Erickson"

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